Acts 4

Acts 4 contains a passage that I go back to again and again in my own spiritual journey, because I long to be seen by others in the way Peter and John were seen by the leaders of the Jewish council.

As the story goes, in Acts 3, Peter and John healed a lame beggar who had been lame his whole life and who had been begging at the temple gate for as long as anyone can remember. Those that frequented the temple saw him so many times that I’m sure he became invisible to them.
Then the day came when Peter and John healed this man, and he couldn’t be ignored any longer (in part because of the miraculous healing, and in part because his joy was so intense his body couldn’t contain it and he was “walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3: 8) as he entered the temple for the first time in his life.

But the priests of the temple, the leaders, the temple guard and the Sadducees were “very disturbed” (Acts 4: 2, NLT) by this scene. And their concern probably had several layers to it. One, this man was causing a raucous in the temple court and in their mind, that wasn’t being reverent, respectful.

I remember the first time I was in a church when some children went running to the front of the sanctuary for children’s story. Some person in the pew grabbed one of their arms and told them to settle down and stop running. Man did that moment zap their joy. In fact, that child turned around and went back to their parents with tears in their eyes. To me, that’s not what church is meant to be. If there is joy in the church, let it break forth. If there are children excited to be there, celebrate with them. “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” (Matthew 19: 14, NLT)
So the priests and other leaders try to discredit Peter and John, they ask them, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” (Acts 4: 7, NLT)

They had two issues. One, they were concerned that the power was from below, not above; similar accusations that were put on Jesus from the Pharisees in John 8 and other places. And, they knew the healing came in the name of Jesus and in their minds, Jesus was a criminal who had been crucified on a cross.
Peter and John responded with eloquence, directness, boldness, about who Jesus is and how this healing was accomplished by the power of His name. They even say that His name is the only name by which one can be saved. His name is our only hope, and our power.
Here’s comes the part that I come back to often.

Verse 13 (NLT) says, “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”

That last line is the one that gets me. Because of the way they presented themselves, the things they said and didn’t say, the things they did and didn’t do, it was clear to the leaders that these men had been WITH Jesus.

And that’s what Jesus wanted first and foremost from His disciples, right? To be with him. When He first called them to be His disciples, Jesus said, “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to cast out demons.” (Mark 3: 14-15, NIV)

Yes, they were to do things, but their first priority was to be with Jesus. Everything we do and say should come from being with Him. When we are with Him, out of us will flow springs of living water. (John 7: 38, NLT)

I don’t know about you, but I desperately want others to leave our encounters knowing that I have been with Jesus, for that makes all the difference in the world.

I hope and pray today, that among the craziness of life, you’re able to pull away and spend some moments sitting at His feet, listening to what He has to say. Who knows, you might not only end up being seen as someone who has spent time with Jesus, you may just see a miracle.

By Paddy McCoy

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